While studying art history at university over 20 years ago, two subjects fascinated me the most: the history of techniques, the ability of man to create with his hands, and iconography, the ability to incorporate symbols in his work to express an idea. Since then I have also developed a great fondness for Old Masters and in particular works on paper, which has been a source of inspiration in my printmaking.
The notion of Memento mori in Latin implies that man is not immortal, an idea used by many artists of the 17th-century onwards to reflect on death, the fragility of time and the futility of earthly possessions. This subject has always been dear to me, and something that I wanted to explore in my work, but finding the right objects always postponed the project. One of my oldest and closest friends is an avid collector of all sorts of artworks and curiosities, and the inspiration came immediately while visiting him. We discussed my ideas and we spent a week together in his home working on com- positions. For this body of works, it was important for me to use natural light only to confer a painterly feel to the images, in homage to the Old Masters.
2 editions Chine-collé platinum-palladium print on gampi:
48 x 60 cm (58 x 78 cm) / 19 X 23 3/4" (22 x 27”), Limited edition of 5 + AP
32 x 40 cm (48 x 58 cm) / 12 1/2 X 15 3/4” (19 x 22”), Limited edition of 8 + AP
While the word "divine" may suggest a religious character to many, the French dictionary Larousse also defines the word as "something that we find exceptional, perfect, sublime". It is the latter that I am exploring with photographs I have taken over the years. I've come to realize that the divine surrounds us if we take the time to slow down and look around. These prints are in a way profane icons of our world, a transcendental portrait of our environment. I give great consideration to the choice of materials in my work because it helps me communicate an idea or a mood of a photograph in the final print. Gold leaf has been used in art to celebrate the divine by many civilizations over thousand of years, and it has been a source of inspiration for this body of works. Some will also recognize my fondness for Japanese art, and particularly the very large byobu folding screens from the Kano and Rimpa schools.
Palladium print & pure gold leaf on Japanese gampi
Unique edition of 7 prints + AP
Portraits of Flowers
The Roman philosopher Seneca once said: “Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.” Every year since my daughters were born, we visited my parents-in-law in the summer. I always admired my mother-in-law’s collection of old glass bottles siting in a window, thinking I could make interesting prints with them. A few years ago, we moved to their town so my mind started wandering about photographing them, but never with much success. On a spring day, my wife visited our friend and neighbor, who was in the garden caring for her roses. The beauty of the roses flabbergasted my wife so our friend cut a rose branch and gave it to her. Back at our home, she placed the flowers in an apothecary bottle, knowing about my idea and thinking it could be a source of inspiration. Meanwhile I was in my studio preparing a batch of silver gelatin glass plate for another project I had in mind, and when I saw the flowers and the vase I thought it would be a great subject to test the plates. I pulled an old wooden table in our attic and placed it by the only window in the room. This was Rosa Mundi, and the answer I was finally waiting for.
2 limited editions available:
platinum-palladium print on handmade Japanese gampi
35 x 28 cm (48 x 40 cm) / 14 x 11” (19 x 16")
Limited edition of 8 + AP
Chine-collé platinum-palladium print on handmade Japanese gampi
I regard printmaking almost as important as taking photographs, and my interest has shifted from taking pictures to crafting images. Some may not see any difference between the two, but I do. I look at prints like objects, and I find that certain processes can greatly complement the aesthetic of a photograph.
Abridged introduction by Jörg Maaß, Platinum Prints, Jörg Maaß Kunsthandel (Berlin, 2018)
Photographer, alchemist, printmaker. First, Gilles Lorin searches to capture the soul of the motif, be it a tree or a bronze Buddha statue, be it a still life or a real person. But right after taking the picture, the bigger part of the alchemist’s and printmaker‘s work begins. He strives to provide the picture‘s best possible performance, and that is the artist‘s real art. He achieves this in many operation rounds in the darkroom, organized like a lab. Difficulties never turn him down but present a great challenge and motivation to achieve what he has in mind, they are pure inspiration for him and generate new energies. And trust that he solves the problems – even if it takes years. He never stops until the results meet his expectations.
In our digital world, photographic artists like Gilles Lorin are a true exception. This may sound rather banal, and that is why it needs to be explained. Gilles is – in a highly demanding way – in search of the best possible result, of the maximal quality of the print on the possibly ideal paper for the respective subject. 15 years of experimentation and further development of his skills to overcome difficulties, and thus encouraged to find new solutions, have lifted him onto the quality level on which he is working today. Superficial, fugitive, and rapid – that is not given to him. He strives to get things perfect and timelessly beautiful.
Gilles prefers platinum-palladium prints. These metals provide, if compared to gelatin silver prints, a wider spectrum of tonal values and endless shades of grey. While silver remains suspended in gelatin on the surface of the papers, platinum and palladium penetrate the fibres and affiliate with the paper which becomes part of the image itself. Gilles treasures Japanese gampi paper which is one of the finest and most exquisite papers in the world. It allows even deeper shades of black and supports a very fine, subtle gloss.
If you indulge in Gilles Lorin’s pictures, they will never leave you. It is this highly sophisticated mixture of artisan skill, love of experimentation, and carefulness with various materials and chemicals, his precision and sensitivity, that develops a piece of art out of the motif, representing the fascination radiating from his works.
Gilles Lorin had an eventful life among most disparate cultures. His profound art-historical education and his personal disposition of striving for perfect results, with regard to all aspects mentioned earlier above, enable him to produce photographs of utmost aesthetics, in very small edition sizes, and using the most precious papers. His expert knowledge and the many tricks and secrets he generated from his experience enable him to fathom the possibilities of utmost picture quality and create masterpieces of Prints.
1973 Born in Aix-en-Provence.
1975 - 1988 Lives in Megève in the French Alps. Develops a passion for the mountains and discovers darkroom photography in early teens.
1988-1990 High-school diploma from Trinity Preparatory School, Winter Park, Florida. Starts studying drawing, painting and sculpting. Continues his interest for photography.
1990-1992 Studies Business Administration at Loyola University of Chicago, alongside Applied Arts and Art History.
1992 Returns to France to study Art History at the Université de la Sorbonne - Paris I
1995 Bachelors Art History
1997 Masters Archaeology, mention très bien
1997-2000 Christie’s, King Street, London, Japanese specialist
2001-2015 Returns to Florida to work in the family business of Asian art and antiques
2002-2005 Lives in New Orleans, his interest for photography is growing.
2005-2015 Lives in Winter Park, Florida, builds his first real studio where spends most of his spare time experimenting with photography.
2015- Returns to Europe, establishes his studio in the Southwest of Germany and works full-time as a photographer and printmaker.
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